A truck-driver shortage may lead to higher shipping rates for small businesses.
Small businesses with heavy inventory are bracing themselves for higher shipping rates due to a shortage of roughly 30,000 truck drivers. “We’re starting to see dramatic increases in freight rates,” says Andy Ahern, a Phoenix-based transportation consultant. Multiple factors are to blame, including industry growth, driver retirements and a lack of qualified drivers applying for jobs.
“We barely have enough capacity to meet freight demands,” says Rod Suarez, an American Trucking Association economist.
But companies that move more products also have more leverage to find alternative agreements with carriers, freight brokers and third-party logistics providers, Ahern says. Some major carriers have reacted to the shortage by opening or sponsoring driving schools, which Suarez expects to help reverse the trend.